Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Welcome To Fluvanna Correctional Center" (by an anonymous inmate)

Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Troy, Virginia
While I cannot verify  every detail in this inmate's account, I know her personally and know others who can vouch for her integrity. As always, I am willing to post any response from a facility like FCCW, but complaints like the ones listed below are distressingly similar to those I repeatedly hear from other prisons and jails across the Commonwealth, although I'm know there are many dedicated and caring staff members at these institutions as well.
This is a condensed version of something she sent me recently, posted with her permission.

Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women is saturated with compromising issues. Poorly trained staff and improper medical care top the list. 

American citizens should not be subject to being treated as little more than beasts. True, everyone here broke the law, yet the very name "Correctional Center" indicates that we are here to be rehabilitated back into society. From all I have witnessed here, this facility is accomplishing the opposite.

Day after day we see guards whose heads are swollen with power, and with a level of corruption demonstrated in the Stanford Prison Experiment. I have seen a guard walk directly up on an inmate, blowing a whistle in their ear. Many times I have heard a guard scream "Because I told you so!"

I have personally witnessed officers egging inmates on, wanting the inmate to combat them or another inmate. I have seen other staff behaving in this way as well. I have seen nurses play favorites in seeing inmates, who have even cursed at inmates, because they know that the inmate receives all the repercussions. Disrespectful behaviors such as these all show a lack of proper staff training.

Fluvanna does allow for inmates to put in a grievance regarding an officer, but everyone knows they will retaliate in some form of childish bullying. A common example is having an officer come shake your room down and write up some kind of charges. Doing time is hard enough without having this kind of harassment from officers. 

Fluvanna is supposed to be a medical facility, and many inmates are assigned here for that reason. But staff members are not properly trained to deal with emergencies. 

While in intake I witnessed a woman slip and fall, wearing what we call "suicide shoes". These are flip flops issued to us to wear fro showering. They become like ice skates in puddles of water. The guards acted like they had never experienced an injured person before. It took them some time to tell the other inmates to lock down. Meanwhile, the woman, in obvious severe pain, was being moved about and treated by guards as if it were no big deal. After being sent to the hospital it was determined she had broken her leg.

One inmate in my wing was bitten by a spider. This was not considered a medical emergency. Even when her finger was beginning to turn black,the nurse simply gave her Benedryl and told her to soak her finger in hot water. It wasn't until a week later, with the blackness spreading and the red blood poisoning line going up her hand that she finally did get proper medical care, after her being adamant about it and showing her finger to the sergeant.

Another medical failure I have witnessed is how easily they run out of people's medications. This is not something to be toyed with, since people may go through major withdrawal or start to act out. And someone with a kidneyinfection should not have to be told that they have run out of antibiotics.

In conclusion, Fluvanna's poorly trained staff, improper medical care and pattern of discrimination tend to promote patterns of negative behavior. The staff should be shining examples of productive members of society. Instead, they reinforce attitudes of negligence and disrespect.

It's a small wonder that offenders keep coming back.

Signed, An anonymous inmate at FCCW
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